Leading chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut doubles production in Ghana
set to double its cocoa grinding capacity in the African country of
The Swiss firm announced this week it has decided to install a second cocoa grinding line at its factory in Tema, Ghana, doubling its current capacity from 30,000 to 60,000 metric tonnes annually.
The new grinding line is expected to be fully operational by August next year.
"We see this investment as proof of our continued commitment to Ghana and of our strategy to geographically diversify our sourcing activities further," said Patrick De Maeseneire, Barry Callebaut's CEO.
The extra grinding facility will build on the 520,000 tonnes of cocoa annually processed by the Swiss firm, out of a global market of 3.1 million tonnes.
Such investment activities will help to boost Ghana's cocoa bean harvest. In 2002/2003, production increased from 340,000 to about 500,000 metric tons.
Tema, located in the south-west of Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea, is an up-and-coming industrial city. The planned expansion is fully in line with the intentions of the government of Ghana to process at least 40 per cent of all domestically grown cocoa beans inside the country.
But the country's cocoa industry has had its ups and downs. Ghana's cocoa production stood at 500,000 tons in 1965, but by 1983, it had dropped to 150,000 tons. Low prices and poorly motivated cocoa farmers switched over to competing crops, further aggravating the problems of inefficiency and under-investment.
Cocoa production started to pick up with government schemes to make better techniques, as well as other farm inputs more available to cocoa farmers. These measures, plus better transport facilities, have boosted present annual production to well over 400,000 tons.
As a further measure to step up production, the government has deregulated the industry to allow for greater private sector involvement, concentrating on providing secure markets for farmers through an aggressive marketing programme.
Africa's Ivory Coast is the leading producer of cocoa, followed by Ghana and Indonesia.
Last month Barry Callebaut announced plans to cut costs in Europe as the Swiss firm posted a fall in revenue for nine month figures.
The firm warned full year figures will fall below its long-term average growth rate of 8 to 10 per cent, to just 2 to 3 per cent.
Nine-month net profit rose 29 per cent to CHF101.8 million (€6.8 m) but sales revenue fell 2.5 per cent due to lower cocoa prices and currency effects.